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Government & legal system

Challenging a Disputes Tribunal decision

Rehearings by the Disputes Tribunal

What are the grounds for a rehearing?

Disputes Tribunal Act 1988, ss 42(2), 49

Usually, the Tribunal will only grant a rehearing of the dispute if one party can show that not all the relevant information was available, or that a mistake was made, or that something else went wrong that prevented a proper decision from being made. For example, a person might apply for a rehearing if:

  • that person (or his or her witness) was unexpectedly unable to attend the hearing for a valid reason, or
  • the referee made a material error in stating the amount of money a party had to pay as compensation (for example, incorrectly added up losses), or
  • after a hearing at which the referee approved an agreement between the parties, either party discovers facts:
    • that are directly relevant to the dispute, and
    • that could not have been obtained before the hearing, and
    • that would have had a bearing on whether the party would have agreed to the settlement.

A rehearing will not be granted just because one party disagrees with the decision.

Who hears a rehearing?

The same referee who heard the original case will consider the application and decide whether to grant a rehearing.

However, if a rehearing is granted, it will be conducted by a new referee.

What does a rehearing cost?

There is no fee for applying for a rehearing.

What is the time limit for applying for a rehearing?

Either party has 20 working days after the original decision to apply for a rehearing.

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The Disputes Tribunal

Where to go for more support

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and can help you apply to the Disputes Tribunal or defend a claim there.

Consumer NZ


This provides information on how the Disputes Tribunal works, your rights at the hearing and how to file a claim.

Disputes Tribunal


This website includes general information about how to apply, fees, the hearing process, and appeals.

You can apply online at:

Some Disputes Tribunal decisions are available to read at: www.disputesTribunal.govt.nz/disputes-decision-finder

Citizens Advice Bureau


Phone (0800 FOR CAB) 0800 367 222

Contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for information about the Disputes Tribunal process.

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